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What to do Before Leaving on Vacation

Kamee Collins | JUN 25, 2018

June 21st is the official start of summer!

For many of us, that means trips away from home.

A great vacation should be stress-free... Which can’t happen if you spend the whole time worrying about the safety of your home and belongings.

We at The Earthquake Bag are all about helping you prepare for any possibility.

That’s why we created this checklist of steps to take at home before you leave on your next vacation.

Whether you’re concerned about a break-in, an electrical fire, or stolen mail-- we’ve got you covered.

Don’t think that these tips are just for vacationers, though. Now that it’s hurricane season, there’s a chance you may have to evacuate your home if you live in earthquake country. Many of these tips are quick actions you can take before leaving, to protect your home as much as you can.

Read the list and print it out before your next vacation!

Vacation Dos

A Month Before

  • Pets - Book a pet sitter or a slot at a pet boarder if you have pets that require full-time supervision.

 A Week Before

  • Mail - Have it forwarded or ask a friend to forward it for you
  • Plant and animal care - Ask or pay someone to water your plants and feed any pets that don’t need 24-hour supervision. Write up a schedule for them and finalize all the details, including what to do in an emergency
  • Alarm system - Notify your alarm company that you’ll be out of town. If your alarm is connected to your fire alarms, ensure that both are in working order
  • Finances - Alert your credit card companies and banks that you will be on vacation. Check to see if any bills will be due while you’re gone, and take steps to make sure they are paid
  • Pool - Check your pool pump to make sure it runs properly
  • Weather - If your vacation is during a particularly severe season you must reinforce your home against weather-related threats
  • Emergency contact - Establish a neighbor or local friend as an emergency contact. They can notify you of any dangerous activity around your home and be the first point of contact if something happens to you or your family while on vacation. Give them a copy of your itinerary

 The Day Before

  • Windows - Check your windows, make sure they are locked or otherwise unable to open. Before you go, leave your windows the way they are normally. A suddenly-shuttered house can signal to prowlers that the home is unoccupied
  • Electronics - Walk through your home and unplug small appliances and electronics like microwaves and coffee makers. This conserves energy and can help prevent electrical fires
  • Water heater - Put your water heater in “vacation” mode
  • Thermostat - Turn your thermostat down or off to avoid unnecessary electricity bills and potential fire hazards
  • Refrigerator - Consume, give away, or toss out food that may expire before you return
  • Lights - If your lights are on a timer, consider setting them up to turn on and off for short periods of time each night
  • Chores - Be sure your laundry, dishes, and trash are taken care of before you leave unless you want to come home to mildew and mold

Vacation Don'ts

  • Don’t announce your vacation to the world via social media
  • Don’t leave spare keys in their usual hiding places. Be sure to bring them all in before you go
  • Don’t skip these precautions just because your vacation will be short
  • Don’t forget to share these tips with your friends and family

Now that your home is safe while you’re away, it’s time to make sure your family will be safe while traveling.

Consider taking these extra precautions while away from home.

Your family will be grateful.

Vacation Safety Tips

Road Trips

  • Get a tune-up before you go.
  • Pack an emergency bag in your trunk. You might get stuck somewhere you don’t want to be.
  • Check your car seats when traveling with kids.
  • Stay sun-safe by wearing sunscreen even if you’re in the car most of the day. Remember to cover any buckles or straps with a blanket so they don’t get too hot in the sun.

 Domestic Vacations

  • Clean out your wallet by removing any credit cards, identification, or other information you won’t need while traveling.
  • Carry on important items like medications or jewelry.
  • Don’t watch other people’s luggage or leave yours unattended.
  • Keep cash and cards separate by placing some of your cash in a money pouch or hotel safe.

 International Travel

  • Make a copy of all your important documents like passports, travel insurance, and identification.
  • Carry items in front of you, never in your back pocket or hanging behind you. That’s the easiest way to get pick-pocketed in crowded cities.
  • Wear a sturdy bag while you’re at it. Backpacks are easy for criminals to reach into while aboard a foreign transportation system. Small purses with thin straps are easily broken or cut. Go for a money belt or sturdy messenger bag instead.
  • Don’t fall for scams. Check out this Rick Steves' post about the most common travel scams and how to avoid them.

 Are we missing anything on the list? Send us a message and let us know!